Thursday, December 29, 2016

The joys of Twitter

Words fail me.  My light-hearted 'poem' poking fun at the lack of self-awareness among a few people (most of whom have long since broken off contact after making some sort of abusive comment towards me - "arse", "idiot", "zoomer", "Cybernat tube", etc, etc) provoked a torrent of rather baffling fury in certain quarters this afternoon.  Christopher Silver accused me of being unable to take a bit of gentle mockery...which seems a distinctly odd way of saying that a blogpost that has the sole purpose of gently mocking people is by definition BAD.  Laura Waddell complained that my "frankly creepy" poem was misrepresenting people, and that I was failing to accurately capture the nuance of their own positions.  When I offered to take her through examples of all of the things in the poem having been actually said by specific individuals, she told me not to bother (effectively that means she didn't even want to hear the answer to a string of angry questions she had only just asked me).

It seems a rum sort of day when I have to put explanatory footnotes on jokes, but here goes anyway -

* Most of the poem was derived from a tweet posted a couple of months ago by David Officer, who expressly told people never to use the word "Yoon", not to complain about BBC bias, not to even mention JK Rowling's name (!), not to link to any blogposts by Stuart Campbell...and in true kitchen sink mode, he declared that the front pages of The National were part of the problem as well.  When I took issue with him, he then launched into a bitter complaint about the fact that I had put a full stop at the start of my tweet (ie. making my reply publicly visible).

* Gerry Braiden said that I was an "idiot" for writing blogposts about Brian Spanner, and clearly felt that it was unspeakably ridiculous that anyone at all should be devoting even a micro-second to the task of uncovering Spanner's true identity - in spite of the strong evidence that he is not just some random bloke.  In fairness, Scott Reid and Professor James Chalmers were less abusive, but expressed much the same sentiment.  There was widespread condemnation of the anonymous guest poster on this blog who employed some initiative to track Spanner down to Ardrossan.

* James Mackenzie does not regard it as sufficient to merely block Stuart Campbell.  He has an explicit policy of breaking off all contact with anyone he sees interacting with Campbell, in even the most trivial of ways.  He has made abundantly clear on numerous occasions that he believes Yes people must literally pretend that Wings Over Scotland - by far the most popular pro-independence blog - does not even exist.

* Leo Mikłasz told an MP yesterday that a tweet saying that the BBC should not have "campaigned against people" was unacceptable and should never have been posted. Bizarrely, he also suggested that the sentiment expressed in the tweet was somehow equivalent to support for Donald Trump (although unsurprisingly he never explained why).

I'm sure we've all encountered Mike Small and James McEnaney, so I don't really need to fill in the blanks there.

* * *

Note on the Wings block list : Stuart Campbell is once again inviting people to block everyone on Twitter that he currently blocks, and is offering an automated way to do that.  Please note that if you take up his offer, you will automatically be blocking me.  After my dispute with Stuart over US election polling, a number of you said that you would be continuing to read both blogs, so it's probably fair to warn you of the consequences of what might superficially appear to be an innocent enough idea.  I strongly suspect I might not be the only surprising name on that list.

For full disclosure : I was still on good terms with Stuart when he first came up with the plan of exporting his block list, and I didn't go down that road even then.

UPDATE : Having had a proper look, it turns out that I'm far from being the only surprising name on the block list.  Also there are Maurice Smith, Angela Haggerty, Jenny Lindsay, Allan Grogan, Kirstin Innes, Sarah Beattie-Smith, and many, many others.  It seems to me pretty tough to defend the idea that these are individuals who thousands of people should be blindly blocking without having the slightest clue as to the reason why.  Stuart claims that he only ever blocks people for being a "troll" or an "idiot".  That self-evidently is not true.  Whatever you may think of someone like Angela Haggerty, she is plainly neither a troll nor an idiot.  To a large extent, this is simply a list of people that Stuart has had particularly heated arguments with.  That's fine - it's a perfectly valid reason for blocking someone on Twitter.  But it's not a valid reason for encouraging thousands of other people to block them.

51 comments:

  1. Glasgow Working Class 2December 29, 2016 at 9:25 PM

    James, get back to Labour and save your integrity. The fash only offer Tartan Toryism.
    The National headline today was about giving British naval contracts to Scotland. The Nat sis want a seperate country! Duh.

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    1. I take it that Korea is NOT a seperate [sic] country. ;p

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2December 29, 2016 at 9:52 PM

      S Korea is and would be entitled to tender in a free market. The joke Jock fash want their cake. R uk would treat Scotland as a potential protagonist and would invest and award contracts accordingly. Meanwhile Kim Yung Eck would upgrade the Govan Ferry.

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    3. Pointless arguing with GWC Jean. Facts will be ignored, and assertions and opinions gleaned from the lodge and the Daily Mail shall reign...

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    4. Can you not block this prick in the interests of making the blog comments actually readable?

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    5. Glasgow Working Class 2December 30, 2016 at 12:42 AM

      Conan and Jean are pals! And intellectuals!! Infatuated by some Lodge or other.

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    6. You're right, of course, Conan, but in that case the joke was too good to pass up. :)

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    7. GWC, your jealousy is revealing. Longs for educated friends, denies his current ones.

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  2. As I commented on the Wings blog, anyone who wants to block me for being on bad terms with Stu (although I think his blog is worth reading) is welcome to block me. I called some of his comments sexist. I refuse to retract the comment.

    And I thought the point of your poem was perfectly obvious, James. If we just play pretend, no one will say anything bad about us. Well, don't hold your breath.

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  3. People getting antsy all over the place with knickers twisting into shapes they just shouldn't be!

    It's only to be expected. Tories are chucking all sorts of dirt and disease into bored waters and SLabour? well, not much to say about them :)

    Offense being taken by the weans but it'll be all gone when we have a goal to aim for with Indy campaign. I'll continue to read your and Stu's articles 'coz they're damn good...

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  4. Very simple thing to think about. We on the Scottish indi side all want the same thing. However we shouldn't have to agree on every political or socio-cultural militia.

    The same way that you can work for a company and disagree with your colleagues, but still want the company to succeed. It's not important to have a generic plan. It's important to succeed no matter what it takes.

    Brexit indi voters are not like me. We want different things. But these arguments are spit in the wind until we are a nation.

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  5. Not sure why he engages in these primary school playground clique antics but it does him no favours. Funnily enough, many indy supporters don't like being told what to think, even by other indy supporters. I'll follow who I want

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  6. Glasgow Working Class 2December 30, 2016 at 1:02 AM

    Looks like you fash are dividing and a good thing too. You had the future of Scotland in your hand 2014 but tossed it away.
    Totally useless lot who could not provide a currency or economic plan and confined yourselves to the dustbin. Who am I tae rub it in tae self inflicted fools.

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    Replies
    1. #snivellingyoon #impotentrage

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  7. James, I've agreed without over a lot of stuff but did you read how the block list works? It doesn't block folk you already follow.

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    Replies
    1. Even if that's true, it's not an especially important point, because the vast majority of his readers do not currently follow me. In the overwhelming number of cases, readers who followed Stuart's advice and subscribed to that list will have automatically blocked me. (And Angela Haggerty, and Sarah Beattie-Smith, and all the others I mentioned.) As those readers are likely to be pro-independence, it significantly (perhaps dramatically) reduces my potential reservoir of future followers. It also means that non-followers are in future less likely to see my tweets, including links to this blog. To be perfectly honest, I think it's absolutely bloody outrageous that he's setting out to sabotage people in that way.

      It's not a secret that I have several dormant feuds with various people, but I don't go around trying to find sneaky ways of getting thousands of people to block James Mackenzie, or whoever.

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    2. There's still a link from Wings to Scot Goes Pop. If he'd properly fallen out with you then you'd have gone the same way as Bella.

      Haggarty was banned after responding to criticism of an article on Commonspace with a tirade of sexist and racist bigotry. She's dangerously close to becoming a communist spanner.

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    3. I recall exactly what happened with Angela. The irony is that I was on Stuart's side over that (and said so at the time), but it didn't make her either a troll or an idiot. Do you honestly think people who sign up to that list will realise they are blocking the editor of CommonSpace, the person who runs Newsnet, and the mastermind of Labour for Indy?

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    4. On the plus side, no one who's mindless enough to let other people choose whom they should block by default is worth having as a follower anyway.

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    5. I absolutely agree with that, keaton. Of course, I would having been on Stu's block list for more than a year. Anyone who is that much of a sheep isn't someone I'm interested in interacting with.

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  8. I thought your and the reply poems where witty and I just fell fowl to one you listed yesterday, James whits his name. Yes the snooting sighing one. He hasn't come back since I sent him some reading from medialenz. But please, take a minute, have a look. I haven't used the list but it says it doesn't block folk you already follow.

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    1. So if you don't already follow someone, are you sure you never want to? Just because Stu doesn't like them? Or they had the temerity to argue with him?

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  9. Also on the Wings blocklist as he apparently wasn't in the mood for a joke replay one time he was going off topic (about football).

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  10. I agree with you about the blocklist, and I'd actually forgotten that he blocked you. Obviously it doesn't block people you already follow so if I used it I wouldn't be blocking you, but there are other people I know or suspect are on it whom I'm used to seeing around. So no, I'll pass.

    If it was ONLY a list of rabid nutters I'd probably use it, but it's way beyond that. It also works to block people Stu blocks in future. Not really a good idea when thought about rationally.

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  11. By the way, thanks for the explanation of the poem. I didn't get the half of it without the Cliff Notes!

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  12. I generally cannot be bothered about factionalism within the independence movement, or any movement come to think of it. If you are not involved directly then it is best not to get caught up in it imo. Everyone has their flaws. Unfortunately I think there are some in the independence movement who are positioning themselves, because since Brexit another independence referendum is very much on the cards. I find the personal advancement element, and playing people off against each other tiring in the extreme. Taking sides in these situations is a mug's game, and I ain't going to start now.

    To be honest, I am feeling pretty pissed off and alienated from and with politics generally at the moment. Brexit and Trump getting elected are bitter, bitter pills, although I think they have been coming for decades.

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    Replies
    1. Monty Python got it right didn't they?

      Though just how much the falling out of anti establishment parties were due to the natural argumentativeness of those were involved, or undercover Special Branch involvement remains to be seen.

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2December 30, 2016 at 6:32 PM

      And the Nat sis love with Thatcherism.

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    3. @Conan, from what I have seen and read, I doubt there is much need for the Special Branch in these situations, sadly ego and positioning for independence seem to be enough on their own. Who knows though?

      To be honest, I am not sure that fomenting divisions among the independence commentariat would be very effective at all in the current political climate. How many voters have even heard of all the names mentioned in James's article above? Only people who are really interested in Scottish politics I would guess. I cannot see why many voters would vote against independence; because some of our indy commentariat are arguing and feuding with each other. Christ, enough American voters voted for Trump, even after the 'grab 'em by the pussy' episode.

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    4. I was a shop steward in the early eighties, tell me about it :)

      I was on a protest march outside Distillers HQ. Two guys with zapata moustaches, sideburns and long lens cameras all wrapped up in a Ford Capri, were taking a close interest in all the stewards (armbands).

      I don't think they were journalists...


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  13. Glasgow Working Class 2December 30, 2016 at 6:41 PM

    Conan, you are usually a late night person. You suggest the left were infiltrared! Maybe big Tam was employed by them or even Gorgeous, who knows! However the lack of socialist policies by the Nat sis kind of negates any conspiracy. The Scottish rich and landlords have nothing to fear from the incumbent Jock Nat si party.

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    Replies
    1. "lack of socialist policies"

      Try getting free education and prescriptions in England...

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2December 30, 2016 at 8:05 PM

      That is not socialism. And it is not free. Someone pays, generally the taxpayer! Socialism is not Capitalism..... The Nat sis embrace Capitalism. So what seems to be a frebbie in Scotland and not in England cannot be construed as socialism. Scotland pays private bus and rail companies millions of taxpayers money is that socialism Conin? But I do get a free! Bus Pass although I pay tax for it!

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    3. Glasgow Working Class 2December 30, 2016 at 8:11 PM

      "Whit a bunch of pessimist moaners you Jocks are."

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    4. Glasgow Working Class 2December 30, 2016 at 8:24 PM

      Except the Jocks that get a free bus pass and unlimited prescriptions to keep them pacified.
      Job seekers do not get a temporary free bus pass. They walk or get a hudgie!

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    5. Yes of course... "That is not socialism" "It is not free" "Someone pays"

      Indeed GWC. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs"

      Remember your Marx? Nah. You prefer your Thatcher.

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    6. Glasgow Working Class 2December 30, 2016 at 9:06 PM

      Groucho was funny and the Jock Nat sis have embraced Thatcher. You only have to concede this Conan and move on or be a continual apologist for the right wing Jock Nat si party. Your call!

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    7. Your usual inane ignoring of facts and comments disproving your statements...

      You must be a Labour politician!

      "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

      Psst. That's a quote from an intelligent guy who knew what he was talking about.

      Hint: *Not* Iain Gray.

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    8. Glasgow Working Class 2December 30, 2016 at 10:16 PM

      The fact is is that the right wing Nat si party is in power and Labour are not.

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    9. Another masterly avoiding the fucking point.

      It's like playing table tennis with a guy who calls it "whiff-whaff.

      Who then says "ping pong" is racist.

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    10. Glasgow Working Class 2December 31, 2016 at 12:29 AM

      And the point? No need for the swearing you obviously do not love Jesus although you could play the part with that hair! And what dae ye make of Trump opposing sanctions against Russia innat?
      Russia put Trump in power but failed to win the 2014 referendum fur the Joke Nat sis. Here tae 2017 Conan.

      Delete
    11. Tory Twat Sockpuppet Class 2December 31, 2016 at 3:10 PM

      Conan the sockpuppet tory twat GWC2 is not scottish, not Labour (even the most rabid Blairite would tell him to piss off) and has about as much in common with the working class as David Cameron.

      Somewhat surprised you haven't realised the obvious yet.
      Most of the regulars on here did long ago.

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    12. The rhododendron is such an obvious CyberBrit operative that it's evaded no-one's notice, TTSC2.

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    13. I know exactly what he is, which is a wind up merchant. I enjoy a good wind up on occasion. You pair on the other hand...

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    14. Glasgow Working Class 2December 31, 2016 at 6:59 PM

      The pair are partly the reason Scots voted for the Union. Both thick as shit who condemn the Tories whilst supporting Nat si Tory policies.

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    15. Do fuck off dear boy. There are morons on every side. Jesus loves you.

      They are mostly unionist, as any one with an internet connection can see. Apart from MSM journalists. And anonymous wee cowards.

      Hang on...

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    16. Don't get the rhododendron thing. Is it some sort of polari talk?

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  14. What the fuck is the point of a blocklist?

    We need to persuade people, perhaps by exposing their alter egos. How do you do that if you block folk?

    Sometimes Stu is right on the money, sometimes he is a blithering idiot.

    There has to be a happy medium between complete openness, which you adopt and annoys the hell out of me, and Stu's closed minded approach which also annoys the hell out of me.


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  16. Agree with James.

    Making it easy to block someone else's block choices, by automation, is not good practice.

    If there were a second referendum and Twitter indy traffic were channeled via a few hashtags such as #indyref2 then this would be a legitimate channel for new users to enter the debate or look for answers.......If many of us autoblock thousands of yoons. How do we see what they might say to new entrants on these focal hashtags, in order to counter it?

    ....and of course....totally agree that the whims of one person on Twitter, should not be blindly copied in relation to "yessers" as this is counter productive to the networking we should all be doing. In addition this list of blocked "yessers" can only really increase in size....

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